CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on energy gains, stimulus optimism

Mon Feb 9, 2009 10:36am EST
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* Energy group leads TSX higher

* U.S. stimulus packages eyed, delay announced

* Precision Drilling falls 10 pct, suspends distributions (Adds details)

TORONTO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose on Monday morning, largely supported by sharp gains in the energy group, with U.S. stimulus plans also in focus.

The energy sector advanced nearly 3 percent as the price of oil moved above $41 a barrel on expectations that an economic stimulus package will get through U.S. Congress this week. OPEC talk of more output cuts and a weaker U.S. dollar also pushed up oil and gas shares.

The proposed massive stimulus plan could face another day of political wrangling before a U.S. Senate vote on the measure. The U.S. government was also due to set out a bank bailout plan on Monday, but that announcement was delayed until Tuesday.

"Most of the activity is focused south of the border," said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Capital in Waterloo, Ontario.

"What's getting a little bit of wind here is the fact that oil is up, so we're seeing some strength across the board in the energy sector, which is certainly coming off low levels."

At 10:12 a.m. (1512 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 0.6 percent, or 51.80 points, at 9,059.82. Six of the index's 10 main groups were higher.   Continued...